You don’t need Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington’s front crawl skills to make the most of a holiday by the sea.
With shallow waters perfect for paddling and plenty to do both in and out of the waves, these idyllic beach destinations are ideal for non-swimmers.
Es Grau, Menorca
More like a giant spa pool than an ocean bay, this pristine crescent of sand within the S’Albufera des Grau nature reserve is a hit with kids and less confident swimmers. Its appeal lies in the shallow, warm waters, which stay lapping at your shins as you wade 40 metres or more out to sea. The beach itself is a secret gem – half a kilometre of dark, uncrowded sand backed by the dunes of S’Albufera des Grau.
With five miles of palm tree-backed sand sloping gently into a perfectly calm ocean, Negril boasts one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. You can wade at least 30 metres out into the sea before reaching swimming depth, making this a perfect choice for non-swimmers. There’s plenty to see and do around Negril too, from golf courses to fine dining restaurants.
St George Beach, Naxos, Greece
The Greek island of Naxos has more than its fair share of beautiful beaches, but this one has a golden combination of shallow waters, endless sand and a backdrop of classy beach clubs serving food throughout the day. When you’re done with paddling in the balmy waves of the Aegean, take the five-minute stroll into Naxos Town or tuck into classic Mediterranean cuisine at the top-class tavernas that line the beach.
Swimmers often complain that the only thing stopping this beach being the best in the world is its shallow waters. If you’re not here to practice your breaststroke, though, then the calf-depth seas really aren’t a problem. Expect to be bowled away by the gigantic white-sand dunes that back the beach and the beauty of Jericoacoara’s shimmering blue lagoon.
Tucked away at the far western end of the Algarve, this half-mile-long stretch of golden sand is perfect for both kids and non-swimmers. Protected from the strong waves of the west coast, Salema’s calm, warm waters have helped to win the beach Blue Flag certification, which guarantees quality and safety of bathing water, among other things. When you get bored of paddling and sunbathing, watch the local fishermen dragging their daily catch up the beach, or search for dinosaur footprints in the surrounding limestone rocks.
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
It may only measure 5.5 miles long, but that’s the only way that Grand Cayman’s most famous beach falls short of expectation. It has that classic Caribbean combination of butterscotch sands and swimming pool-esque waters, which are shallow enough to lure in even the shakiest of swimmers. There are plenty of beach bars, shops and markets to explore when sunbathing starts to pall.
Turquoise Bay, Western Australia
It might take a while to get to this ultra-remote beach in Cape Range National Park, but the trip is more than worth it. Living up to its name with clear turquoise waters and sugar-soft sand to match, Turquoise Bay is the kind of place you thought only existed in Photoshopped holiday brochures. The wonderfully warm sea laps the edges of Ningaloo Reef, a haven for marine life, making this a top choice for shallow water snorkelling.